There is much about this article in this Huffington Post article about Texas higher education that makes me question the current politics of public education. It’s the usual fare from the right: universities are too expensive, there’s too much time spent on research instead of teaching our kiddies to be engineers and business people, yada. Universities are anachronistic parasites, blah blah blah, and thus the university needs to cleaned up, made more efficient, and made more accountable to the taxpayer.
The point in that which makes me raise my eyebrow:
Thirty years ago, Texas taxpayers funded more than half the university budget. This year, the state contributes about 13 percent, or $295 million.
It sounds to me like the university is not the anachronism here. What is actually anachronistic here is disproportionate taxpayer oversight of institutions for which they are marginal sources of capital. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that taxpayer priorities for higher education mean little in the institutions’ calculus? I hate to be rude about this, but in a state like Texas, $295 million could be made up from endowments in very short time. Perhaps it is time for UT to go private to protect itself from being political fodder for weak politicians like Perry.